03/29/05 — Tarnished Halos: Food industry group announces its ‘winners’

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Tarnished Halos: Food industry group announces its ‘winners’

The Center for Consumer Freedom has announced its Tarnished Halo Awards for this year.

Now, the Center for Consumer Freedom is as much an organization to sanitize the image of the food industry as it is to promote the interests of consumers. It is, after all, a coalition of restaurants and similar businesses.

Still, it drives home some good points with its Tarnished Halo Awards.

One of them, for example, went to Pamela Anderson, the buxom beauty, for excoriating race driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. She objected to his relationship with the Kentucky Fried Chicken company, since she is a vocal supporter of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Yet, PETA is the outfit that wants to end medical research that Pamela Anderson champions to seek a cure for hepatitis C, her own disease.

She was not the only honoree, using the word loosely, who was involved in activities against KFC. Also picked was the Rev. Al Sharpton.

He lined up with PETA to help instigate a boycott of the chicken chain among blacks. PETA, of course, wants not just blacks but everybody to eschew the cruel practice of eating chicken. Right on, said Sharpton.

Yet, in 2001 when the preacher got out of prison after a four-week hunger strike, he told a crowd of well-wishers: “I’m going to walk through Harlem just to settle in again; then I’m going to Amy Ruth’s for some fried chicken.”

Amy Ruth’s is a restaurant that carries a dish named for Sharpton. It’s waffles and — you guessed it — chicken.

The winner in what the Center for Consumer Freedom called the “Cereal Killer” Category was Professor Marion Nestle of New York University. She insisted that 19-year-old college students are too dumb to pick their own breakfast cereal.

“It’s asking far too much of late adolescents to exercise that kind of choice,” said the professor.

Then there is Yale Professor Kelly Brownell, author of the book “Food Fight,” which takes the responsibility for any over-eating away from the over-eater and places it on the restaurant industry. Brownell has grown fat, literally, writing his book. He said his considerable girth got that way because he was inactive and snacked too much while writing his book. Its topic? Obesity.

Published in Editorials on March 29, 2005 11:06 AM